Activist & Pioneer Nurse

From Hero to Zero by Anne Clark RN

The World we live in changed dramatically in Canada in March when the COVID 19 virus was declared a national emergency. A travel advisory was issued by the Canadian Government and our border with the USA was closed later that month. People in Ontario were falling dangerously ill with the Virus in ever increasing numbers and then the Virus erupted amongst our most vulnerable elderly in LTC. The death toll was rising as the most vulnerable died in increasing numbers. Nurses were working without the proper Personal Protective Equipment, caring for the sick and dying at the cost of their own health and safety.

Amidst all this death and panic Nurses were hailed as “Heroes” 

by the Ontario Government and the people of Ontario. They were hailed as such on the nightly news and by people gathering on balconies on their front porches to bang pots and pans and thank them every evening at 7 pm for their sacrifice. Nurses saved Ontario. Sadly the Nurses awake to grim reality with the Arbitration award delivered on the latest round of Collective Bargaining. The Government had passed Bill 124 which targeted them and denied them fair bargaining. Bill 124 imposed a 1% wage increase. So the Heroes who saved Ontario in its hour of need were worth a 1% raise?

This action imposed on them by the Government, galvanized the members of ONA as they have never been before. Nurses became politically active and took to the streets in protest, to inform the citizens of Ontario and the Government that they were not taking this slap in the face without fighting back. The Government also passed Bill 195 further stripping rights regarding hours of work and reassignment under the ONA Collective agreement. Nurses were again singled out to bear the brunt of the COVID crisis. 

We have held Rallies all over the Province and in Ottawa protesting outside a different Government Minister’s office every week. I have been proud to be part of these Rallies here in Ottawa. Heroes do not deserve this treatment. We will not forget this disrespect come the next election, nor will our families.

Who Is Florence Nightingale

  • Activist and pioneer in Nursing
  • Born in 1820 in Florence, Italy
  • Established the first nursing school worldwide in London, England
  • A mentor and role model in Nursing
  • Author,  systems thinker and pioneer public health reformer

Read more…


Our Bookmark

Definitions On Health

Available upon request. We look forward to sharing it with you.

Definitions assist us to reflect and understand our nursing practices and ourselves. Take a look and submit your own definition on Health.  What does it mean to you?

1. World Health Organization (WHO)
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

2. Nightingale
Health is not only to be well, but to be able to use well every power we have.

3. Carolyn
Health is a recognition of health limits and an ability to seek treatment with compliance towards a balance physically and mentally with optimal function. 

Definition On Nursing

1. Virginia Henderson, Nurse Theorist, 1966
The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery or to a peaceful death that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge and to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible.

This definition has been adopted by the International Council of Nurses and distributed around the world.

Unusual Kindness

The phrase “unusual kindness” is of a religious nature – Act 28.2, and covers Nightingale in reference historically. It makes you think how important it is to be kind to each other and patient as well. With the stresses upon us it is easy to snap and be unruly in how we communicate. Nurses are known for being caring but kind as well – most important at these times.

Did You Know?

Nightingale was well ahead of her time!

She had identified the correlation between the physical hospital environment and health outcomes of patients.

Her strong credentials in the use of statisticians saw her become the first woman inducted into the Royal Statistical Society in 1858 in the UK.

Click here for the Public Health Legacy of Florence Nightingale: A Lesson For Covid-19

In Collaboration with Dr. Lynn McDonald Professor Emerita

Lynn is an author of several books on Nightingale-most recently; Florence Nightingale, Nursing, and Health Care Today and the Collected Works of Nightingale. She is also a climate activist, prison reformer and former Member of Parliament. You can connect with her for more information on Nightingale in Backgrounders at She is cofounder and current chair of The Nightingale Society and has been a great support and inspiration to us throughout the last year. We do connect with her and other nursing colleagues from California and Ohio on a regular basis- sharing ideas on how best to recognize and promote Nightingale.

The Nightingale 2021 Team

Anne Clark RN

Retired Nurse and former ONA Board member

Nightingale Authority

Carolyn Edgar RN

Retired Nurse

Student in labour Studies -McMaster University

Cristina Buco RN

Frontline Nurse at PMH

Return to Work at
local 097

Eleanor Adarna RN

TGH Site Rep

Local 97 Executive Secretary Health and Safety Lead Rep